Following a firestorm of controversy (catch up here, here and here), the Motion Picture Association of America has decided to drop the “Bully” rating down to PG-13. Why did the MPAA suddenly reverse its stance?
Three uses of the “F” word were cut from the documentary on bullying.
Here’s what director Lee Hirsch had to say about the decision:
I feel completely vindicated with this resolution. While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced by Canada’s rating of a PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA.
The support and guidance we have received throughout this process has been incredible, from the more than half a million people who signed Katy Butler’s petition, to members of Congress, Governor Mike Huckabee and the many celebrities and others who raised their voices to express deeply felt support for a film that can inspire millions. The scene that mattered remains untouched and intact, which is a true sign that we have won this battle. With an array of great partners, a fabulous educator’s guide and extensive online tools, we can now bring this film unhindered, to youth and adults across our country.
In the aforementioned scene, teen Alex Libby is shown being harassed and bullied while on the school bus. Hirsch refused to edit the scene out, saying that it was essential to the documentary’s integrity. Sounds like the MPAA reluctantly agreed.
“Bully” will be released in 55 theaters on April 13.